Soil Biodiversity Framework Data Initiative

The BASE project has concluded. It has joined with the Marine Microbes project to form the Australian Microbiome Initiative. For the current processes and workflows. please go to the Australian Microbiome page and website. The legacy pages below are kept for information only but will not be updated anymore.

Soil provides the very basis for all our lives, largely through the provision of nutrients to plants that feed both animals and humans. As such, soil is not merely a passive player as it hosts microbial communities that are primary drivers of soil ecological processes, such as nutrient and carbon cycling, as well as being intimately involved in a range of symbiotic and pathogenic co-evolutionary relationships with plants.

The Biome of Australia Soil Environments (BASE) project is collecting DNA sequence information about microbial community composition across a range of different sites in order to create a reference map of Australia’s soil. The datasets are being made publicly available and can be linked with other measurements and data such as overland surveys, meteorological data and geological information to enhance the ecological knowledge of the Australian continent and contribute to land management strategies.

This Bioplatforms Australia Framework Data Initiative is employing amplicon (bacterial 16S, archael 16S, fungal ITS and bacterial 18S) and shotgun metagenomics sequencing approaches. Sequencing of cell sorted samples is being investigated in order to augment the dataset with the more abundant bacterial reference genomes.

The project is led by Drs Andrew Young (CSIRO), Pauline Mele (VIC Dept. Eco Dev.) and Andrew Bissett (CSIRO) in partnership with Atlas of Living Australia, Australian Antarctic Division, Australian National Data Service (ANDS), Bush Blitz, CSIRO, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Department of Parks and Wildlife Western Australia, Department of The Environment (DOTE), Grains Research and Development Corporation, La Trobe University, Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Tasmanian Land Conservancy, Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), University of Adelaide, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, University of Western Australia, University of Western Sydney, Victorian Department of Economic Development.

For further information please visit the Bioplatforms Australia Metadata Portal:

Project contacts:

Andrew Bissett | T: 02 6246 4820|
Anna Fitzgerald | T: 02 9850 1174 |

Articles and Publications

New science shows ‘a little dirt never hurt’
Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) Newsletter
May 2018
View publication

Introducing BASE: the Biomes of Australian Soil Environments soil microbial diversity database
May 2016
View publication

Microbe hunters and explorers
Helix Magazine
Febuary 2013
View publication

Soil Secrets

“Soil Secrets” presented on ABC’s Landline program (Nov 2012) gives an excellent overview of soil research in Australia and the resulting benefits to agriculture. Our soil datasets provide critical genomic data for this research and are being generated in collaboration with a number of Australia’s leading soil and agriculture scientists including Pauline Mele who features in this program.

Data Visualisation

Explore BASE data with Atlas of Living Australia visualisation tools

Data Downloads

Soil, Melanoma, Wheat, Great Barrier Reef …

Bioplatforms Australia

+61 0410 538 648